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National Herald: On Day 5, Gandhi Quizzed for 11 Hours, No Fresh Summons Issued

Rahul Gandhi has been questioned by the ED for around 50 hours over 5 days.

Updated
Politics
3 min read
National Herald: On Day 5, Gandhi Quizzed for 11 Hours, No Fresh Summons Issued
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, 21 June, was questioned for almost 11 hours on the fifth day of his interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the National Herald case.

Gandhi was allowed to take a half-an-hour dinner break following 10 hours of questioning on Tuesday. He finally left the agency office at 11:30 PM. He has not been issued fresh summons, indicating that his questioning might have ended for the time being.

Gandhi took a half-hour break around 8 pm and re-joined the session that started in the morning at 11:30 am.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, while calling the long hours of questioning 'harassment', said on Twitter, that it was still 'unclear' what irregularities the ED was 'probing in such detail'.

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The Congress MP from Wayanad (Kerala) has spent a total of about 54 hours at the ED office over five sittings with the investigators questioning him over multiple sessions starting 13 June.

He was questioned by the central agency for about 12 hours on the fourth day of his appearance on Monday.

4th Round of Questioning

Gandhi left the headquarters of the agency on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi around 12:30 am.

The Congress leader had arrived at the ED office just after 11 am in the morning and went out once in the afternoon for over an hour, accompanied by his "Z+" category CRPF security escort.

He was asked by the agency to continue recording his statement for the fifth day on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders on Monday, 20 June, met President Ram Nath Kovind to discuss alleged mistreatment of MPs by the police during their protest against the ED's questioning of Rahul Gandhi, as well as the newly unveiled Agnipath recruitment scheme.

Protests by workers erupted across the country starting 13 June.

Why Was the Fourth Round of Questioning Postponed?

The fourth round of questioning on Monday came after Gandhi's request to postpone the summons was granted, considering the illness of his mother, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi had requested the agency to give him relaxation from appearing for questioning from 17 to 20 June.

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Sonia Gandhi had tested positive for COVID-19 on 2 June and was expected to turn up for questioning at the agency offices on Wednesday, 8 June. However, the interim party chief, who was discharged on Monday, 20 June, had asked for three more weeks since she was still COVID-19 positive and in isolation. She will appear before the ED on 23 June.

The National Herald Alleged Money Laundering Case

The ED had registered the case to probe alleged financial irregularities in the party-promoted group Young Indian, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

The ED wants to record the statements of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The summons to the Gandhis came after the probe agency questioned Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal in relation to the case.

The questioning of the senior Congress leaders and the Gandhis is part of the ED's investigation to understand the shareholding pattern, financial transactions and role of the promoters of Young Indian and AJL, officials had said.

The agency registered a fresh case under the criminal provisions of the PMLA after a trial court in Delhi took cognisance of an Income Tax Department probe against Young Indian Pvt Ltd on the basis of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

(With inputs from ANI & PTI.)

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